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Özdemir denies government regulations for ready-made pizza

“Together with manufacturers”
Özdemir denies government regulations for ready-made pizza

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Too much sugar, too much fat, too much salt: ready meals should become healthier in the future. However, Food Minister Özdemir does not want to go so far as to dictate the recipes to manufacturers for the sake of the state. According to the Green Party politician, such reports are “simply wrong.”

Cem Özdemir's Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture has rejected allegations that there should be government guidelines for the composition of ready-made pizzas and other processed foods in the future. The statement that the food industry will have to adapt its recipes for certain foods containing sugar, fat and salt to government requirements in the future is “simply wrong,” said a ministry spokesman in Berlin. Rather, it is a “joint process” that is also supported by the food industry and dates back to the previous government.

It's “not about government requirements” but “about a process together with the food industry on how to make food healthier,” emphasized the spokesman for the Green politician. The background is the national reduction and innovation strategy that was adopted in December 2018. The food industry commits itself to reducing the proportion of salt, fat and sugar in processed foods by 2025. The aim is in particular to reduce the frequency of overweight, obesity and diet-related diseases, especially among children and young people.

“Develop scientifically supported reduction targets”

On Thursday last week, however, Özdemir's ministry criticized the fact that although there had been improvements in recent years, many products – such as sweetened quark preparations or soft drinks – were still too unhealthy. The state-run Max Rubner Institute (MRI), which is intended to support politics on nutrition and consumer protection issues with scientific findings, had previously presented a corresponding interim report.

Özdemir explained that his ministry had therefore commissioned the MRI to “develop scientifically based reduction targets in a broad stakeholder process”. My ministry will demand this “objective, scientifically based basis for further reformulations from the food industry”. There had previously been criticism of Özdemir from the ranks of the coalition partners FDP and SPD after the “Bild” newspaper reported that the minister was planning a “supermarket revolution” and “state recipes”. The CDU also said that the minister was “overreaching”.

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